From the Citizen:
The figures include all types of attacks and many women’s groups say the latest figures confirm there is not enough public reporting of incidents when they occur and not enough special constables to target problem areas.Just last week, I wrote about the need for OC Transpo (and the city in general) to do more to prevent assaults on or near public transit stations and vehicles, including sexual assaults. If people are to use public transit, they need to be safe and they need to feel safe.
“There have clearly been more assaults than the ones reported publicly,” said Julie Lalonde, director of Hollaback, the Ottawa chapter of the international group that aims to improve street safety for women. “The only people who gain from the secrecy are perpetrators.”
One way to make riders safer is to design safer transit stations. Although the City of Ottawa is talking the talk when it comes to safety-first station design, I wrote a few months ago about how that hasn't been reflected in their plans for Confederation Line stations.
More to the point, though, is the fact that there are many transit stations in Ottawa that have very obvious design flaws that, at best, make the feel unsafe and may in fact make them actually unsafe. Included in this category are Blair, Hurdman, and Lincoln Fields--all of which, to no one's surprise, were among the stations at which assaults have most commonly occurred. They're also all stations that have been cited by concerned riders because of their isolated locations.
Re-building the city's poorly designed transit stations may not be feasible right now, but it's clear that something needs to be done to treat the symptoms even if we can't cure the disease (more special constables, better lighting, increased promotion of programs in place, and so on).
More concerning, though, are the failures of this city to accept the role design plays in making spaces safe or unsafe and ensure that new stations are truly built with safety in mind.